According to the Canalys research group Apple has now shipped nearly seven million smart watches since launch, a figure in excess of all other vendors’ combined shipments over the previous five quarters. In the third quarter Apple was the only smart watch vendor to ship more than 300,000 units.
The quarter also saw the release of the Pebble Time Steel, which helped the company ship more than 200,000 total smart watches, while Samsung’s Gear shipments declined ahead of the fourth quarter (Q4) release of the Gear S2. Canalys says vendors will continue to battle for position behind Apple in Q4 as new devices from a diverse set of companies hits the market.
For example, both Fossil and Tag Heuer will be launching their first smart watches before the end of the year. Still, all eyes will be on Apple Watch sales during the Q4 holiday quarter as a barometer of the strength of the nascent smart watch market.
“After experiencing significant supply chain constraints early on, Apple managed to overcome its production struggles with the Apple Watch and is building momentum going into Q4,” says Canalys Analyst Daniel Matte. “Shipments are steadily increasing as it has greatly expanded the Watch’s channel footprint internationally.”
Chris Jones, vice president and principal analyst adds: “watchOS 2 has brought native apps to the platform, and new colors and styles have refreshed the lineup, but Apple needs to continue to generate demand six months after launch.”
Wearable band shipment data is taken from Canalys’ Wearable Technology Analysis service, which provides quarterly market tracking, including country-level estimates. Canalys defines basic wearable bands as devices serving a specific set of purposes that act as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body, aren't carried, and can't run third-party computing applications.